The BJP will hold a brainstorming session with its allies in the national capital on Monday — a grand show of unity and also a first of its kind by the entire National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after wresting power in 2014.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will host a dinner for about 50 leaders from the BJP and its 31 allies to discuss his government’s achievements and challenges.
“This event will showcase NDA’s expanse and its increasing clout in Indian politics,” a BJP functionary said. “we have seen geographical, political and ideological expansion in last three years.” The Narendra Modi government completes three years in May.
The Prime Minister and BJP president Amit Shah has invited presidents of all the partner parties — including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indhiya Jananayaka Katchi (IJK) in Tamil Nadu, the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, and the Naga People’s Front of Nagaland.
Barring assembly elections in Bihar and New Delhi, the BJP had a dream run after the 2014 parliamentary polls. The party and its allies are in power in 17 states, including Uttar Pradesh, which it won with a three-fourth majority this March. BJP chief ministers rule 13 states.
“Despite having the big-brother status in the NDA, we have cared for our allies. The Monday event is a reflection of our commitment for a harmonious relationship with our partners,” the BJP functionary said.
The meeting will attempt to bury differences and put up a united face.
Vibes from the Shiv Sena have been cold since the BJP won most seats in the 2014 assembly elections in Maharashtra and the latest ban by most airlines on its parliamentarian, Ravindra Gaikwad, for slapping an Air India official has strained relations further.
The Sena has last week even threatened to boycott the NDA meet if the ban on Gaikwad was not lifted before Monday.
Modi’s dinner diplomacy comes ahead of the presidential elections in July, when President Pranab Mukherjee’s term ends. Recent electoral victories have given the BJP the edge, but it still depends on its allies to get its nominee elected to Rashtrapati Bhavan.
The dinner aims to take the fizz out of the Opposition’s effort to stitch an alliance against the NDA before the 2019 general elections.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi last week met senior leaders of communist parties to explore possibilities of a united fight against Modi.